The Deadly Dinner Party by Jonathan A. Edlow M.D. was a fun little non-fiction romp for me. Medical detective stories good enough for House, M.D., and thus right up my alley!
From Publisher’s Weekly
Mimicking the style of his favorite genre, the detective story, author and doctor Edlow (Bull’s Eye: Unraveling the Medical Mystery of Lyme Disease) retells 15 stories of “shoe-leather epidemiology” that delve into the complex world of diagnostic medicine. In the title story, three cases of botulism are traced, with the work of physicians, local health department officials, and CDC representatives, to a jar of oil-packed garlic. Other chapters cover typhoid fever in restaurant orange juice, gastrointestinal infestation via fish tank water, and illnesses caused by excess vitamins A and D. Readers, especially those already alarmed over everyday pathogens, will find plenty to worry about, including herbal teas grandfathered out of FDA regulations; sudden changes in diets that may, literally, plug up your pipes; and all-natural, fresh-pressed cider that may harbor dangerous e. coli. Readers will also find that every medical diagnosis is a puzzle to be solved, often by gathering and analyzing data with the help of a team.
I will admit that I didn’t guess the majority of these diagnoses, despite my extensive medical background (haha, riiiggghhtt). While the underlying causes were tricky to discover, the explanations for the diagnoses, what the doctors were thinking, and the disease processes themselves are simple enough for those with no medical backgrounds. It’s a small book, but despite it brief length by the end the format was getting a bit redundant and the cases less enthralling. However, it ended up being a fine way to spend a couple afternoons.